The builder with the half-finished house, the dentist with terrible teeth, and the landscaper with a deadset jungle in his backyard. It’s the age-old story of those who do the best work, are often so busy they can never find time to finish their own. Add in any setback or parts delays and it’s no wonder that when you go to a custom car or bike garage, their ‘shop project’ has seemed to be in the same state for the past few years. For Sander Ziugov that meant to get his Honda CB project finished he’d have to burn the candle at both ends. But his understated Zed Made ’79 CB900F is done, now lighter, faster and better in every single way.
Building motorcycles for a living is an all-consuming occupation, which usually leaves little time to work on your own bike. Most personal bikes are built in the ungodly hours after paid projects, or just stealing time over the years. So to get to this point where he is finally ready to call it done, it took five years and three do-overs. “It’s one of those builds you never think about planning or having a certain vision for it,” Sander explains. “In fact, I never even intended to get it in the first place. It was given to me free of charge to free up some space in a garage that a friend of mine was renting. Of course, it came in boxes like they always do.”
At first, the idea was to keep the bike looking relatively stock, even leave the wear and tear on the tank and other visual parts, while ensuring it was a good runner. But like any bike that comes in boxes, they usually end up that way because more than one thing was seriously wrong. “Once all the common DOHC CB series problems started showing – starter clutch, charging system, cam chain tensioner etc. It was time to break it all apart again and start a completely clean build.” So with the parts ordered to get the engine running as it should, it was time to get to work on the rest of the bike.
The frame was already bare, so with grinder in hand it was smoothed out and detabbed, and anything that wasn’t going to be used simply cut off. The swingarm came in for the same treatment before Sander then cut back the subframe and removed the original seat bracket that only adds unnecessary weight. Even the engine mounts were smoothed out and given a more symmetrical shape, while the peg brackets were cut back and the passenger pegs ditched. Then all those parts were given a coat of flat black powder to ensure they were protected for decades to come.
The looks were always designed to be understated and with the big factory tank restored to picture-perfect condition, Subaru’s Desert Khaki colour was chosen for the paint. A hit when released for use on small SUV’s wanting that urban jungle appearance, it works perfectly on the CB and is softened even further with a matte clear over the top. With weight-saving high on the agenda, the carbon fibre tailpiece ticks that box, looks brilliant and works perfectly with the tank. The brilliantly stitched seat fits on top and the front fender is a small item, moulded on the factory unit, and fitted with custom alloy brackets.
To get the stance right the front forks were lowered internally 100mm and clamped with a custom upper triple, with a set of YSS shocks taking care of the rear end. But it’s in the new brake setup that you see Sander’s machining skills shine through. Yamaha XJR1300 front calipers are adapted to fit with his own brackets that clamp Yamaha R1 discs fitted with new stainless floating disc rivets that you can buy from the Zed Made online shop. The rear brakes are all heavily modified Yamaha FZR components with a Nissin master cylinder. A powerful Brembo radial master handles the front end and the aluminium reservoirs are another Zed Made product that will soon be available to buy.
Time to sort out that big twin-cam engine and starting with a bare block all new bearings and every chain and tensioner was replaced. Behind a custom made billet cover goes a full Suzuki GSXR permanent magnet alternator conversion and the starter clutch comes from a Yamaha R6. The engine was built back up internally with new rings for the pistons and an all-new clutch pack. Before the outside was given an update thanks to Mikuni BST38SS carbs that take their air via K&N filters. A full custom exhaust was built around a Devil’s 4 into 1 collector at the centre and to keep the whole package reliable, a new oil cooler with braided lines and AN fittings is mounted upfront.
Having gone to all that effort the factory wiring was replaced with an all-new loom that uses waterproof connectors. A Motogadget m.unit is the heart of it all and sends a signal to the Zed Made LED blinkers, having received instruction from the minimalist switchgear. A custom taillight and Bates headlight join the party and the all-in-one speedo is offset on a bracket below the anodised fork covers. Tommaselli clip-ons feature in-house made bars and the final piece of the fabrication puzzle was to make a removable longboard rack for when four wheels need to replace two.
It might have taken five years, but it is in many ways the ultimate shop bike. Sure you can chase parts on it, but it also acts to show future clients the endless cool fab work, custom parts and off-the-shelf components that Zed Made has to offer; in one slick package.